A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari official trailer and release date
A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari

MTV Documentary Films debuted the official trailer for A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari,” a visual and music-filled documentary film on the acclaimed composer and songwriter.

Directed by Justin Taylor Smith and musician/composer/filmmaker Kaoru Ishibashi, the film premiered at SXSW Film Festival and opens in theaters on October 6th.

In A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari” internationally acclaimed composer and songwriter K Ishibashi (professionally known as “Kishi Bashi”) embarks on a personal quest by creating his music in locations relevant to the Japanese American Incarceration during WWII. It is on this journey in which Kishi Bashi comes to terms with his own Japanese American identity and uncovers a myriad of social issues that have gripping modern relevance. Omoiyari is a genre breaking, artistic exploration that fuses history, music, and the complexities of the human condition.

Kishi Bashi (K) had been commissioned by Nu Deco Ensemble to create a multimedia piece surrounding Executive Order 9066. He and co-director Smith started to film K’s musical improvisations at these historical Japanese American incarceration camps across the US, with the original vision of making a behind-the-scenes short film. However, what transpired with the up-close and personal filming and intimate performances became this emotional and beautiful feature documentary that has now become a “song film.”

“This release of A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari” is the culmination of a six-year artistic project that was an experimental blend of music, history, and social justice documentary filmmaking,” says director/composer/musician Kishi Bashi. “Calling it a ‘Song Film, ’ we began by documenting a musical and historical research journey. But, in time this unfolded into a transformative dive into my own personal minority identity and painting a broad survey of the Japanese American experience, from immigration to incarceration, generational struggles with assimilation, and the compassion and healing that we hope will resonate with anybody who has been otherized. ‘Omoiyari’ is a Japanese word about having that empathy and compassion for another person that is necessary for diversity and inclusivity. We are so proud to be able to contribute to the dynamic conversations that are taking place in this country right now. And partnering with MTV Documentary Films is a perfect match for us and the film to reach people.”

“We wanted an audience to learn the story of Japanese American incarceration through a new lens, through K’s musical journey and from the people whose lives were uprooted and changed forever,” further adds co-director Justin Taylor Smith. “The goal was to connect viewers emotionally to the story through strong visuals and music, to cultivate empathy, and to go beyond the cliff-note version of this atrocity that they may have learned in grade school history books. Kaoru’s music is incredibly emotional. When we first started production, we started naturally by shooting scenes at what’s left of the 10 camps. There’s not much left of them today but dust, dirt, sagebrush and in some cases just a small memorial. Filming K improvise new songs at these locations, seeing him connect with that past trauma to create music on the spot was powerful. I knew in those early moments that those scenes would become the backbone of the film.”

“Kishi Bashi created an unusual music documentary born from his awareness of the Japanese incarceration camps of 1942,” says Executive Producer Sheila Nevins. “His music helps him find his place as a Japanese American. The music talks about sorrow, redemption, and self-discovery.”

A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari” will open theatrically on October 6 in select cities including New York and Los Angeles with performances by Kishi Bashi at planned screenings. A national roll out will continue throughout the fall. In addition, planned screenings/performance tours with Kishi Bashi will also be starting at the end of October along with the release of the film’s soundtrack.

A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari” will serve as a special screening at the upcoming Woodstock Film Festival this coming September 30 in Woodstock, NY.

Watch the official for A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: “Omoiyari.”

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